Nottingham bodes ill 1

January 16, 2004

The national implications of Nottingham University's pay scheme are immense (Letters, THES , January 9). The new salary scales and performance-related pay divorce academic from academic-related staff, with damaging effects to both.

Academics will receive a poorer service from demoralised and de-professionalised support staff too busy meeting targets to do their job.

Progression will be much harder, and many future staff are being frozen out of the Universities Superannuation Scheme.

Despite modest short-term pay increases for some staff, average increments are far less generous on the new scales (£715 compared with £1,071 on academic-related grade two). Performance-related pay represents another assault on academic freedom and further extends the values of the sausage factory into the realm of higher education.

The Association of Univer-sity Teachers is right to be dissatisfied with the pay offers. But it is the strings attached that should cause most concern. The chilling example of Nottingham University suggests that if widely adopted, the proposals would ensure the continual erosion of the pay and conditions of loyal staff. We must continue to resist this threat.

Mick Byrne
Nottingham AUT

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